spider mites indoor plant

How to Kill Spiders on Houseplants With Home Products

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There’s typically no need to worry about spiders if you spot fine webbing on houseplant leaves. Your plant is likely hosting spider mites, tiny, eight-legged arachnids related to spiders, rather than hosting true spiders themselves. Spider mites are sap-sucking pests that commonly live in dense colonies beneath plant leaves. Their feeding activities can result in yellowed or stippled leaves that might fall from the plant prematurely. Fortunately, you can easily treat spider mite populations on houseplants with common dish soap and water.

Mix 3 tablespoons of liquid dish soap with 1 gallon of water. Pour the solution into a spray bottle.

Test the soap solution on a small, inconspicuous part of your houseplant. Wait one to two days and check the tested area for any type of injury. If no damage occurs, spray the solution on the rest of the foliage.

Spray your plant until you thoroughly cover the tops and undersides of leaves. Apply the solution where stems meet the stalk as well. Soap spray offers no residual effect, so thorough coverage increases your chances of directly spraying and killing the spider mite pests.

Rinse the soap solution off the leaves in about two or three hours. Removing the soap residue from foliage surfaces reduces the risk of leaf burn.

Repeat applications of the homemade soap spray every four to seven days until your houseplant becomes pest-free. Spider mites often require two or three treatments before you effectively reduce pest populations.

Things You Will Need

Liquid dish soap

1 gallon of water

Examine houseplants for tiny webbing every time you water. Spider mites are far easier to control if you find and treat the pests before their numbers increase high enough to damage plant tissue.

Soap products have been used for centuries to kill insects on plants. They kill many insects by disrupting outer cell membranes and some by dissolving the insect’s waxy outer layer, thus creating dehydration.


Avoid using dishwashing powders, laundry detergents and citrus-based dish soaps because they contain harsh chemicals that can quickly cause leaf burn.

Isolate mite-infested houseplants during treatment to prevent the pests from spreading to other plants in your home.

Always wash your hands after working with infested houseplants to prevent spreading the pests.

Discard houseplants that suffer with severe or chronic spider mite infestations. Although it might seem like a drastic move, it can help prevent your other plants from suffering the same fate.

How to Kill Spiders on Houseplants With Home Products. There’s typically no need to worry about spiders if you spot fine webbing on houseplant leaves. Your plant is likely hosting spider mites, tiny, eight-legged arachnids related to spiders, rather than hosting true spiders themselves. Spider mites are …

How to Kill Spider Mites on Plants

Spider mites are perhaps the most dreaded of house plant pests. By the time you notice their faint webbing, the plant is seriously infested.

Mites form colonies and multiply quickly. Most eggs are female and adult females lay about 100 eggs, with eggs hatching just 3 days after they’re laid. The whole lifecycle — from egg to egg-laying adult takes only 2 weeks. If not controlled, mites can destroy a plant and then move on to nearby plants.

What They Look Like

Often called “red spider mites”, they may be red, green, or yellow. Indoors, the most common is the two-spotted sider mite. But, you won’t notice their spots. Mites are specks about the size of pepper flakes. And they are true spiders, not insects.

They suck plant juices with their needle-sharp mouthparts. Attacks can cause leaves to look mottled and yellow, dusty, distorted, or dry out and drop off. Uncontrolled infestation can kill a plant.

Where to Find Them

These eight-legged pests are so tiny, you need a magnifying glass to see them. You’ll likely notice their fine webbing first. Look for webbing on the undersides of leaves and between leaves. If you tap the leaf over a sheet of white paper, you may be able to see moving specks.

Spider mites love warm (70-80В°F/21-27В°C), dry conditions, making heated homes in winter an ideal environment for them to thrive.

Ivy is a favorite house plant for these bugs.

Prevent an Infestation

Raise humidity. Most house plants have tropical origins and appreciate regular misting to raise the humidity around them. Misting with tepid water not only adds moisture to the air, it also discourages spider mites because they love dry conditions.

Keep it clean. A big first step in spider mite control is to keep foliage clean. Wipe off dust regularly with a damp cloth. For fine-leafed plants — such as palms and ferns — use a fine spray of room-temperature water from a spray bottle. Your plants will love the extra humidity, but the mites won’t. Also clean gardening tools often to avoid giving pests a ride from plant to plant.

How to Kill Spider Mites on Plants

Isolate the plant and prune badly infested or damaged leaves.

Clean infested plants with a cloth or sponge dipped in soapy water. Use mild dishwashing liquid that doesn’t contain fragrance or other additives. Squirt 2 teaspoonfuls into 1 gallon of room-temperature water and gently wash the plant’s leaves, especially the undersides of leaves. Rinse well.

To wash the long stems of ivy, make a sinkful of soapy, room-temperature water. Swish the ivy stems through it with your hand for several minutes, then rinse thoroughly in clear room-temperature water. This should destroy any mites on the plant. Repeat in 2-3 days if necessary.

For heavy infestations, spray plant with an Insecticidal Soap made for indoor plants. Spray every 2-3 days to break the life cycle. It may take several applications. Make sure your plant is listed on the product label. Read the label carefully and follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.

Neem oil works great. It’s proven to kill these pests and their eggs. It’s an organic insecticide that’s safe to use on indoor plants.

Increasing the humidity around your plant may help to prevent another invasion.

Spider mites may be the most dreaded of house plant pests. Get tips for identifying, controlling, and how to get rid of spider mites on houseplants.